The scooter segment is a huge part of the two-wheeler business in India and its popularity could grow further once the COVID-19 lockdown starts to lift. With people looking to avoid public transport, two-wheelers (scooters, in particular) will offer the most affordable alternatives in terms of personal transport.
With that in mind, this is the list of our 5 favourite scooters on sale today. This selection is not based on any particular criteria, like price, performance or efficiency. Instead, it's a list based on the scooters we have enjoyed the most from all the testing we’ve done over time. The scooters selected meet different needs and based on your criteria, the list should help you find the right one for you.
The prices listed here are all ex-showroom, Delhi.
5. TVS Jupiter
The reason that the TVS Jupiter makes it to this list is because it’s our choice for all those of you who want a no-nonsense, practical scooter. Why? Well, the Jupiter has always had a nice engine, but it has the edge over other models when it comes to suspension comfort. And the fact that it has 12-inch wheels on both ends makes it feel more stable than the competition as well. We haven’t yet had a chance to ride the new BS6 model, but there’s no reason for things to change massively.
However, before we go onto number four, there is one thing to consider - Honda has taken years to get the job done, but the new Activa 6G now finally offers some of the features that made the Jupiter so good and that includes features like a telescopic fork, a 12-inch front wheel and an external fuel filler cap. The moment the world gains some semblance of normalcy, we’re going to go find out whether the TVS Jupiter can hold onto its crown! But for now, let’s move to scooter number four.
Price: Rs 61,499 -67,911
Engine: 109.7cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder, FI
Power: 7.45hp at 7000rpm
Torque: 8.4Nm at 5500rm
4. Aprilia SR 160
It’s been four years since the Aprilia SR 150 came out, and we think it’s still the most stylish and sporty looking scooter out there. The SR also rides like no other scooter, and that’s thanks to its 14-inch wheels and its massive wheelbase which is even longer than many commuter motorcycles. Throw in a stiff suspension setup, firm brakes and a peppy motor and what you have is the sportiest scooter riding experience India has to offer.
More recently, Aprilia has even given the SR a new 160cc engine to meet the BS6 regulations, and the scooter is now called the SR 160; the rest of the platform is unchanged. We’re waiting to ride the SR160, but its new fuel-injected motor is essentially the same carburetted 150, albeit with a slightly longer stroke. The result is 11.1hp and 11.6Nm, which makes this the most powerful scooter on sale in India today.
So why is the SR so far down our list? Simply put, it makes too many compromises in its quest to have fun, and it only really shines on super-smooth roads. The suspension is unforgiving, the seat is quite tall and uncomfortable, the 14-inch wheels eat into boot space, and the floorboard is cramped as well. The upcoming, brand-new Aprilia SXR 160 may solve those issues, but until then, the Aprilia is number 4.
Price: Rs 1.04-1.14 lakh
Engine: 160cc, air-cooled, singe-cylinder, FI
Power: 11hp at 7600rpm
Torque: 11.6Nm at 6,000rpm
3. Suzuki Burgman
Suzuki India goes through the effort of making purpose-built models just for our market, and the Burgman Street is one of them. This is Suzuki’s idea of a maxi-scooter for the masses, and under that substantial-looking bodywork is an Access 125 platform. The result is a premium and expensive-looking scooter, and it's no surprise that it carries a full Rs 6,200 price hike over the top-spec Access. What you get for your extra money is a larger, smart-looking scooter with a more spacious seat.
However, what lets the Burgman Street down is that it isn’t really spacious enough for tall riders who will find that their knees meet the handlebar while taking tight turns. If you ask us, that sort of defeats the purpose of buying a maxi-scooter and that's why the Burgman ranks lower than the scooter that comes next.
Price: Rs 77, 900
Engine: 124cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder, FI
Power: 8.7hp at. 6750rpm
Torque: 10Nm at 5500rpm
2. Suzuki Access 125
The Access 125 is the product that single-handedly changed Suzuki’s fortunes in India. It is, by far, Suzuki’s most popular product and it’s gone on to build quite a fan following over the years. Why? It all comes down to a simple, no-nonsense formula.
The Access 125 sports a straightforward design, has no unnecessary features, and it packs a very quick and enjoyable 125cc engine, one that easily outperforms its primary rival from Honda. Now fuel-injected for BS6, the Access manages to be quite fuel-efficient as well, but the best part of the package is its very competitive price. If you want a quick, no-nonsense scooter, you simply cannot go wrong with the Access 125. However, if you’re looking for a scooter that puts the biggest smile on your face, the one that leads our list is in a league of its own.
Price: Rs 67,100 - 71,700
Engine: 124cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder, FI
Power: 8.7hp at 6750rpm
Torque: 10Nm at 5500rpm
1. TVS Ntorq 125
Ask anyone in the Autocar office what scooter they’d like to own and you’re likely to hear the same answer. In fact, three of us actually do, and what sets the Ntorq apart is that it has one of the best suspension setups you will find on any scooters; one that balances comfort and sportiness really well.
The Ntorq is also the quickest 125cc scooter we’ve tested to date, and it even managed to outpace the Ather 450. But the Ntorq brings so much more to the table in the form of its detailed LCD display and Bluetooth connectivity that even enables turn-by-turn navigation. For BS6, it even gets fuel injection, while the new Ntorq Race Edition now packs a funky-looking, full-LED headlight. What seals the deal partly is that the Ntorq is very well priced, but mainly it is one of the few scooters in India that's accommodates tall riders with enough space between their knees and handlebars.
There are some downsides, however. We ran a long-term Ntorq for many months and the one issue we discovered is that it's not the most fuel-efficient machine. If you ride it carefully, you’ll still get decent numbers, but the peppy engine and exhaust sound encourage you to ride faster. Further still, the compliant suspension setup and good stability lets you comfortably carry high speeds for longer periods. This means you’ll end up visiting fuel stations more often than you’d like. Nevertheless, the Ntorq has so many positives going for it, it remains a firm favourite for us here at Autocar.
Price: Rs 65,975 - 72,455
Engine: 124.8cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder, FI
Power: 9.38hp at 7000rpm
Torque: 10.5Nm at 5500rpm
That marks our top five list in the scooter category, and based on your priorities, any one will meet your needs well. However, before we end, we’ve got to give a shout-out to the fact that we now have three high- quality, made-in-India EVs: the Ather 450X, Bajaj Chetak and the TVS iQube. All three are genuinely impressive and vastly superior products compared to the hordes of low-cost Chinese EVs flooding our market. Unfortunately, you can only buy them in one or two cities at the moment, and that’s why they don’t make this list.
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